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UH Researchers Tag More
Tiger Sharks for Online Tracking

Posted 10:33 AM HST, February 5, 2014
Shark biology: Male sharks showed signs of mating abrasions on their pelvic claspers (shown inset). Photo courtesy University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Shark biology: Male sharks showed signs of mating abrasions on their pelvic claspers (shown inset). Photo credit: Mark Royer University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.

By Wendy Osher

A total of 14 tiger sharks are now being tracked via satellite transmitters as researchers round out phase two of a project to observe their movement in Maui waters.

The study comes following an “uptick in the number of shark attacks reported on Maui,” including two fatalities last year, according to information released today by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.

The Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System is monitoring the near-real-time movement online as part of a $186,000, two-year study funded by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.  The results will be used to “guide future decisions regarding management of shark populations in the state.”

Tagged tiger shark swimming away. Photo credit: Mark Royer University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.

Tagged tiger shark swimming away. Photo credit: Mark Royer University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology.

The data will also be used to study tiger shark movements including whether sharks around Maui are more resident than they are around other islands, and whether they exhibit greater use of inshore habitats than in other locations, according to information posted on the web tracking page.

The latest tracking effort was led by UH scientists Carl Meyer and Kim Holland who tagged six sharks in January, 2014, in addition to the eight that were tagged in October of 2013.

“The most recent tagging trip off Maui was timed to coincide with the tiger shark mating season, a time of year when large males are easier to catch,” according to the UH announcement, noting all six “bore fresh mating scars.”

“As part of the study, researchers hope to determine whether major biological events such as pupping and mating draw tiger sharks to Maui, and whether those sharks leave afterwards,” according to a University press release.

So far, 11 of the 14 sharks that have satellite tracking were viewable on the website this morning, including 9 females and 2 males ranging in size from 9.3 to 14.2 feet.

According to UH researchers, rough seas, limited satellite coverage, and surface time of sharks may all impact the online tracking, which needs enough dry time on the tag to get a clean location fix.

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  • ronald1216

    sharks are being fed at night

  • stand alone

    WOW! That’s a big fish. In the picture.

    • Maui_Mike

      Fo sho brah! I’ve seen a couple big boys while paddling, it makes me stay aware…

      • stand alone

        Not really sure, hopefully it will. I have allot of good ideas on what they should do but there will be allot of people that will be agents it.

        • Maui_Mike

          I would welcome hearing your ideas, with all the shark attacks this season I’m interested in the subject a great deal.

          • stand alone

            Well,I guess you want to see some people attacking me for a change eh? Ok,
            1) to much turtles sharks are coming closer to shore hunting for them. Where people is swimming.
            2) people is swimming in areas where we would not go swimming. Cause we know sharks are more present in those areas.
            3) people getting brave and swimming allot further out from shore then they should. And without a diving mask and a spear way out there.
            4) there is shark seasons here just like there’s seasons for different fishes that we fish for.
            5) I think there’s allot more sharks now cause no ones hunting them.
            6) people swimming where and when they should not go swimming. Dirty murky waters, dark over cast days, early mornings and late evenings. There’s more. Its just common sense.
            7) excursions that feeds sharks. Sharks getting use to humans and expecting to be fed. They’re
            There’s allot more to know to share but, getting tied.
            8) lady’s and others swimming when they are discharging blood they’re having

          • Maui_Mike

            I think that is all pretty logical and sensible advice, some of it is common knowledge but not commonly practiced, but it should be and we would have less attacks.

          • stand alone

            Truthfully, this is how I really see this. When we go into the ocean we enter their domain. And like anywhere else where there’s predators that could hurt/ kill you. People just have to be more aware and caution minded. I see it as if you would if I was in Alaska I would be dead meat. Cause I know nothing about the predators they have there. Like the bears and the wolves. If I went there I’d be in their territory and I would have to be caution there like here with or predators that we have. And if you would put more people into those types of areas there’s better chance of a attack.

          • Maui_Mike

            That makes sense to me, it’s the risk we take being in the ocean, but if attacks persist I expect the public will think “something” should be done….

      • Chef

        “Fo sho brah!”??? You Haole tryin’ hahd fo blen’ in, eah. Can tell wid’dout even needin’ fo see one pikchah.

  • kiki

    what worries me are the ones that are hanging out close to shore, why? they are looking for food turtles, or seals, its time to take turtles off of the endangered species list

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